The Wal-Mart Decade - AchieveMax® Top Ten Book Review


The Wal-Mart Decade: How a New Generation of Leaders Turned Sam Walton's Legacy into the World's #1 Company was destined for publication. It was simply a matter of when it would be written and by whom. In fact, I'm amazed that it wasn't published long before this. Wal-Mart is so much more than the smiling faces of the senior citizens who greet you with open arms at the front of the store, it's more than the bouncing Smiley Face continually reducing prices in every aisle, and it's certainly much more than a typical discount store chain headquartered in the small Arkansas town of Bentonville. Wal-Mart is the real thing. It's here to stay. It's a world-class company.

There is much to learn from this corporate giant that recently moved into the #1 spot on the Fortune 500 ahead of GM, Exxon Oil, Ford Motor, and GE. Do you think Wal-Mart simply stumbled into that coveted position? Consider this:

  • Wal-Mart has revenues of $246 Billion;
  • Wal-Mart has 1 million 300 thousand employees;
  • Wal-Mart has mastered logistics and the supply chain;
  • Wal-Mart shares its strategic vision with each and every employee;
  • Wal-Mart leaders never rest on their laurels;
  • Wal-Mart continually find ways to reduce costs while improving the shopping experience for its customers;
  • Wal-Mart is the first company ever to head both the Fortune 500 list of American companies and that magazine's list of Most Admired Companies; and
  • the Wal-Mart management team has devised and then implemented strategies for rapid but prudent growth.

The greatest strength in the Wal-Mart arsenal is the fact that their CULTURE is everything. It's hard to argue with the reality of Wal-Mart's continued performance.

I think it's important to realize that the author of this book isn't a devoted Wal-Mart fan trying to recruit additional followers for the retail giant. Robert Slater was a reporter for Time Magazine for 21 years. He is the best-selling author of Jack Welch and the GE Way and has also written acclaimed books about IBM and Cisco. He probed deeply into the Wal-Mart organization from top to bottom, from Bentonville to China and beyond. This book offers a fresh and fascinating look at this unique company-as it was and as it has become-with an immediacy and insider's feel unrivaled since Sam Walton's own memoir, Made In America.

Sam Walton set the bar high for his future leaders. He created a unique culture based on three basic beliefs:

  • Respect for the individual;
  • Service to the customers; and
  • Striving for excellence.
  • Walton was also totally committed to what he characterized as his Ten Rules of Business ... each of which is explained in detail in the book. The author allocates three of 14 chapters to "The Founder and His Legacy." He wisely devotes the remainder of his book to explaining how the new management team devised and then implemented strategies for tremendous growth.

    There really have been three quite different periods of Wal-Mart's development from a Ben Franklin franchise (opened in Bentonville as the Walton 5 and 10 in March of 1951) to the global retailing giant it is today. The three periods include the Sam Walton Years until his death in 1992, the David Glass Years (1992-2000), and the Lee Scott Years (2000-Present).

    For years, many people asked about Wal-Mart the same question that others asked about Southwest Airlines: "What's going to happen after HE leaves?" With all due respect to both Sam Walton and Herb Kelleher, their respective organizations have done just fine. Perhaps that is the ultimate test of leadership: a heritage which endures after the leader is either gone or much less involved. In this exceptionally informative book, Slater explains how and why such a heritage guides and inspires the entire Wal-Mart organization.

    More than 100 business book reviews written by Harry K. Jones are available at www.AchieveMax.com/books/index.htm">http://www.AchieveMax.com/books/.

    Reprint Information

    Your organization may reprint this article for your newsletter, online publication, or mailing list. We ask that you print the:

    • article in its entirety;
    • byline of the writer;
    • information about the writer, which is available at the end of each article; and
    • contact information, including our toll-free phone number in the U.S. (800-886-2MAX) and link to our website - www.AchieveMax.com.

    We would appreciate a tear sheet or electronic copy of the articles you reprint.

    www.AchieveMax.com/motivational-speaker-harry.htm">Harry K. Jones is a professional speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a firm specializing in custom-designed keynote presentations, seminars, and consulting services. Harry has made presentations ranging from leadership to employee retention and time management to stress management for a number of industries, including education, financial, government, healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing. He can be reached at 800-886-2MAX or by visiting www.AchieveMax.com">http://www.AchieveMax.com.


    MORE RESOURCES:
    Jean Fritz, an award-winning writer whose work helped transform historical biographies for children from leaden recitals of battles and dates into warm, human narratives full of quirks and crotchets and satisfyingly strange facts, died on Sunday at her home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. She was 101.

    The author of more than four dozen books, Mrs. Fritz was known in particular for her biographies of many of the signal figures of 18th- and 19th-century American history.

    America's libraries got a major boost this week on Capitol Hill as a group of leading publishing, information, software, and other businesses unveiled an organized effort to advocate for federal library funding. The move comes in response to the Trump administration's proposal to eliminate virtually all federal library funding, and the agency that distributes those funds to all 50 states.

    Margarita Engle has been named the Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Awarded every two years, the $25,000 laureate title is given to a living writer in recognition of a career devoted to writing exceptional poetry for young readers. The laureate advises the Poetry Foundation on matters relating to young people's literature.

    Suite Française, adapted from the bestselling book by Irene Nemirovsky will premiere on the Lifetime network May 22.

    Represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, Book Passage--with stores in Corte Madera, Sausalito and San Francisco, Calif.--and co-owner Bill Petrocelli have filed suit against a state law that, the plaintiffs say, "will make it extremely risky, if not impossible, for stores to sell autographed books or host author events."

    Petrocelli said that the law's "expensive mandates--with voluminous reporting requirements and draconian penalties--create a nightmare for independent booksellers that thrive on author events and book signings. Consumers will also suffer. The tradition of author events at bookstores, with opportunities for direct interaction between writers and readers, will be shattered. The cost of record-keeping and major liability threaten to make book signings impossible, and stores such as mine do not want to engage in the massive intrusion on customer privacy that is mandated by the law's reporting rules."

    Several publishers and authors organizations have officially joined the many book world people criticizing Amazon's new policy allowing third-party booksellers to "bid" for the primary spot in buy buttons.

    A statement from the Authors Guild called the move "deeply disturbing" and said it "has the potential to decimate authors' and publishers' earnings from many books, especially backlist books." It noted, too, that the policy might be connected with Amazon's desire to force publishers to use its print-on-demand services, if POD availability will essentially guarantee a top spot on buy buttons. Such an arrangement, the Guild wrote, "looks an awful lot like a 'tying' arrangement under the antitrust law."

    The statement concluded: "Amazon has already done enough damage in the book industry. It has devalued books by setting the price and consumer expectations for e-books and hard copy books artificially low, even taking a loss to do so. And it extracts an unreasonable fee from the sale of any book through its site, as compared to the services it provides, and charges extra for things it calls 'marketing services,' such as making a book discoverable on its site. Amazon gets away with this because it has monopoly and monopsony power over the retail book industry. Without a fair and open publishing marketplace, publishers will soon lose the ability to invest in the books that advance our knowledge and culture."

    A new program from Amazon is drawing a range of reactions from those across the publishing industry, from fear to downright anger. The e-tailer has started allowing third-party book re-sellers to "win" buy buttons on book pages. The program, publishers, agents, and authors allege, is discouraging customers from buying new books, negatively affecting sales and revenue.

    Once every 10 years Granta issues a special issue focused on new American fiction, "showcasing the young novelists deemed to be the best of their generation--writers of remarkable achievement and promise, still in their twenties and thirties."

    It's Best of Young American Novelists of 2017 list includes "21 outstanding writers who capture the preoccupations of modern America." The authors are: Jesse Ball, Halle Butler, Emma Cline, Joshua Cohen, Mark Doten, Jen George, Rachel B Glaser, Lauren Groff, Yaa Gyasi, Garth Risk Hallberg, Greg Jackson, Sana Krasikov, Catherine Lacey, Ben Lerner, Karan Mahajan, Anthony Marra, Dinaw Mengestu, Ottessa Moshfegh, Chinelo Okparanta, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Claire Vaye Watkins.

    Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, died yesterday at age 88.

    First published in 1974 by William Morrow, the book was a spectacularly popular philosophy book that was loosely autobiographical, tracing a father-son motorcycle trip and flashbacks to a period in which the author was diagnosed as schizophrenic. Its thesis was that quality is the basis of reality, and that this understanding unifies most East Asian and Western thought. Pirsig called this system of thought the Metaphysics of Quality.

    Bestselling author John Grisham will celebrate the publication of his 30th novel, Camino Island ( June 6), with his first bookstore tour in 25 years. On his website, Grisham shares the schedule and event guidelines for the tour, which will feature a book signing and discussion/q&a at each of twelve stops.

    thatware.org ©